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Author Topic: Travelling solo for Bilateral - an ok experience or miserable?  (Read 2266 times)

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Slinkycarrot

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Travelling solo for Bilateral - an ok experience or miserable?
« on: September 20, 2016, 05:03:53 PM »
HI there,


I am having a bilateral hip resurfacing done with Koen De Smet.  I have a husband and young baby.  I am considering travelling solo so my husband can stay home and look after the baby (& feed it expressed milk).


Just wanted to see experiences of others that have travelled solo - was it ok or miserable?


Thanks!


blinky

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Re: Travelling solo for Bilateral - an ok experience or miserable?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2016, 06:10:08 PM »
How long after surgery until you will travel home? And where is home?


I am a bilat and flew from Texas to South Carolina for surgery. I am remembering two flights, one about an hour and one two hours and a longish lay over in Atlanta. My husband came with me. I had surgery #2 on Friday and left town on Sunday morning. I couldn't have done it without my husband with me.


Thinking back on why, I think I was still pretty weak and exhausted that soon after surgery. Husband managed the bags and carried the tickets. He was there to run interference for me and help me when necessary. We had wheelchairs arranged in all the airports. I remember being pretty clear mentally, so I could have directed a skycap/wheelchair aid to help me. But I would have needed that help! I did use the bathroom in Atlanta, for example. We chose a big, family bathroom that both of us and the wheelchair could fit in. I guess I could have had the wheelchair aid push me in then wait outside and listen closely in case I fell or had a problem (like dropped my pants and couldn't bend to pick them up....90 degree rule). I was able to crutch down the aisle of the airplane to get to my seat.


If you can hang out in Belgium for a week and then travel home that would help. A week makes a big difference. That far out I was able to move well on crutches, get up and down easily, use the bathroom confidently, think  and plan much more clearly. What kind of handicapped services are available in Europe? That will also make a difference. I needed to use the elevators in the airport and, as mentioned, the large sized, handicapped friendly restrooms. 


Can a friend travel back with you? If you are within driving distance, could a friend drive you home? Or parent or sibling? Sounds like you are younger than me (I am 54 yo) so you have that advantage. It would help immensely to have a friendly face along for the trip home just in case.

moe

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Re: Travelling solo for Bilateral - an ok experience or miserable?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2016, 06:13:06 PM »
Are you having them done the same day? A week apart? How far are you travelling?


I had mine done the same day and it would have been impossible to travel alone. But all surgeons and recoveries are different. I would get Dr De Smet's opinion on this.
Bi-lateral, BHR, Dr Marchand. 7-13-09

Quig

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Re: Travelling solo for Bilateral - an ok experience or miserable?
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2016, 06:17:20 PM »
I would strongly suggest against it. While actually flying you may be ok, getting to and from lodging and/or the hospital or airport while handling whatever belongings you're traveling with will be quite difficult.

In the days following surgery you're going to be moving pretty slow and feel quite weak under the absolute best of circumstances. Trying to travel and handle even one small bag while using crutches will be very, very difficult.

I hate to be a buzzkill but that's my honest opinion. Good luck!
Bilateral Hip Resurfacing by Dr. Thomas Gross
  -Right Hip; April 11, 2016
  -Left Hip; April 13, 2016

catfriend

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Re: Travelling solo for Bilateral - an ok experience or miserable?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2016, 09:24:58 PM »
Hmmm. Sounds like you're in a tough spot. Are you in North America? Or elsewhere in Europe? Or down under? This could make a difference. Will both hips be done on the same day? Or a few days apart? How long will you be in the hospital afterwards?

I only had one hip done (so far), and I didn't have to travel out of town for it. However, I do live alone, so I have some idea of the challenges you might face on your own. My most difficult day was my second day post-op, which was my first day home alone. I dropped all my reachers, and didn't even have the energy to nuke a meal. I did get better each day. I expect with a bilateral it would be even worse. Hopefully you would be in the hospital for a few days. After that you'll be on your own in a hotel. (Several people suggested to me in advance of my surgery that I check into a hotel afterwards.) The good news there is maid service and meal service so that these details are taken care of. Hopefully said hotel has handicapped rooms with handicap toilets. You are going to need a raised toilet and handrails. The longer you can stay at said hotel the better. As already mentioned you will be feeling much better and much more able to get around every day. With only my one hip done at ten days post-op my neighbor commented that I was getting around better than he was (he needs a cane).

Still, getting from that hotel to your home will require a lot of help. This will be the most difficult part of the trip. You might need somebody to help you pack your luggage, certainly to lift it from the floor to someplace you can pack it. Someone will need to transport it from your room to a taxi. Someone will need to carry it from the taxi to airline check in. You will need a wheelchair at the airport. I am not sure how to manage the 90 degree rule in a coach seat. If you're got the FF miles, or can afford it, this is the time to upgrade. If you are returning to the US typically you go through customs with your luggage, and I don't know if you can find someone to help you here. After that the luggage usually goes back on the conveyor belt and comes out on the other end where presumably the hubby would take over.

I wouldn't say no. As a single person with no close relatives if that's what I needed to do I would. I would advise thinking through all the steps and making a plan for overcoming the obstacles each one presents. I don't think they're insurmountable, but they will each require advance planning. Asking De Smet's office what others in similar situations have done might be helpful. I'm sure you're not the first in this situation. Perhaps someone local in Belgium can be hired for transport and chores for you.

Since the husband/baby issue presents rather understandable problems, is there the possibility of another family member or friend accompanying you? If they can't be with you the whole time, even if they only come at the end to help you travel back it would be beneficial.


Slinkycarrot

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Re: Travelling solo for Bilateral - an ok experience or miserable?
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2016, 05:31:06 AM »
thanks for your thoughts.


Im in south africa so a longish flight. I'd stay in belgium for 9 days after the surgery, at a hotel where i will be getting rehab.  Im more concerned about the first few days being a bit miserable when im in hospital I think.


Sounds like it might be ok?




blinky

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Re: Travelling solo for Bilateral - an ok experience or miserable?
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2016, 12:29:16 PM »
Those first few days in the hospital you should be okay (except maybe emotionally)because the nursing staff will be looking after you. I was in a different hospital, but I will volunteer that my husband planned on staying with me in my hospital room, not leaving my side, but when he saw how well I was cared for, he left me. (and it was fine)


How many hours is the trip home? And will that be nine days after the second surgery?


It will still be tough, but after nine days I was feeling pretty good.


I like cat friend's idea of carefully thinking through each little piece of the trip. Figure out where the hard parts will be and then see if you can find a way to work them out. Like going through customs: are there services for handicapped flyers? Can you arrange for someone to meet you and help you? An airline/airport/customs employee? (Just one woman's experience, but I was pleasantly surprised by the services I received traveling by air when I was using a cane pre and post OP.)


I also like the idea of contacting your doctor's office and seeing if they have any tips. Pat went to Belgium. It has been a while since she went, but she may have some tips, too.

Pat Walter

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Re: Travelling solo for Bilateral - an ok experience or miserable?
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2016, 02:21:15 PM »
Hi  There have been a handful of bilateral Dr. De Smet patients that have traveled alone  for the surgery.  It is more difficult.  You would have to make sure you get wheel chair service at the airports.  I had my hip resurfacing with Dr. De Smet in 2006 and flew from OH to Belgium.  I could have done it alone, but it would have been very difficult.  I also only had one hip done. You would definitely need wheelchair assistance in the large airports.  Also you would want to use the private cab service to and from the airport to Ghent, especially after your surgery. You would have a difficult time with luggage and crutches on the train.  You might want to consider staying a couple more days than the 9 days.  I stayed 9, but only had one hip done.  My flight was 8 1/2 hours and did seem very long.  I think a couple extra days would have made my flight better.  I was also 61.  I was with bilats and they were getting around with one crutch.  Amazing, but not all do that.  It is a difficult surgery getting both hips done.  I think you would get along in the hotel and could also make sure to ask for some help if you need it.  Getting in and out of bed and to the bathroom will be the biggest challenge.  You would NOT want to try to take a shower by yourself.  Most of the time other patients have their husbands and spouses there.  If you are alone, be sure to tell them and ask for some extra help.  I am sure if there is a wife there with her hubby, she would give you a hand if needed.  Especially for a shower - you want someone there if case you have problems.  When I was there, the group was very close and we helped each other if need be.

It would be easier for you to have your husband.  Do you have a relative that could take care of the baby? 

Pat
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3/15/06 LBHR De Smet

Slinkycarrot

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Re: Travelling solo for Bilateral - an ok experience or miserable?
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2016, 07:02:31 PM »
thanks for the advice.


Pat to answer your question, I cant get a relative to look after the baby as we live away from family.  I may be able to get a family member to come to belgium though.


My husband can come for a few days if really needed but can't take the whole time off work - do you think it would be more important to have him there to help for the hotel bit - or rather when I'm in hospital?  thanks.


Pat Walter

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Re: Travelling solo for Bilateral - an ok experience or miserable?
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2016, 07:37:05 PM »
Based on my experience, there is no problem in the hospital.  They are they to help you. Although it is nice to say good-bye before surgery and see someone after you wake up.  However, they will take care of you.  Once you get to the hotel is when I wanted help.  It is not easy even getting one leg on the bed after surgery, besides two.  Even the most simple clothes are difficult to put on.  I would not have wanted to be alone in the room.  If you had any trouble, it would be difficult to call down to the desk on the phone.  Especially if you were in the shower or on the floor.  Again, there have been a handful of men that did it alone.

All this is just my opinion.  There are very tough and strong folks out there, but I was very weak after surgery and would not have wanted to be there alone.  Wimp that I am.  LOL
Webmaster/Owner of Surface Hippy
3/15/06 LBHR De Smet

karlos.bell

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Re: Travelling solo for Bilateral - an ok experience or miserable?
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2016, 01:12:49 AM »
 :D Hi Westro I sent some mail you may want to look it up. A De Smet Bilateral. Doing half marathons now. Cheers K
2019-2020 THR Left & Right COC Revision Zim Continuum cup with Biolox Delta Cer Liner, Biolox Delta Cer Head 40mm 12/14 Taper, CPT Stem Cem.
2019-2020 removal of Hip Resurfacing due to Metal Toxicity Cobalt - Chromium.
2011-2013 FAI hip surgery failure
2007-Injury wakeboarding with FAI Hyperflexion

China Lady

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Re: Travelling solo for Bilateral - an ok experience or miserable?
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2016, 02:40:53 PM »
South Africa is far, far away. I have been there this year February. It is a long flight.
Maybe you can travel alone, but it is a risk. Try to get a direct flight, no stop overs. You cannot sit in economy with youe "injured" hips. I have had done that after surgery from HongKong to Shanghai. Sitting becomes a torture and that flight was only 4.5 houres. But traveling is longer as only the flight time. Over all my travel was 8 hours, door to door.
Try to travel in business class. There you can rise your legs and the service is better. Economy plus is better than normal economy. Thrombose is a risk also when you sit a long time.
In my opinion you can travel alone if you organise it well. Somebody must acompany you until the wheelchair service picks you up. They take care of your belongings also. They brought me to my place in the airplane. There the flight attendence take over. Dont be shy, they even bring you to the toilet.
We arrived in Capetown this spring and so I can talk from real situations. That's a "lazy" airport with a bad attitude. Maybe trouble can be at that end of your journey, but you are home again....
Wish you luck and simply be strong! You can do it!
..... I will find out

China Lady

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Re: Travelling solo for Bilateral - an ok experience or miserable?
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2016, 02:59:23 PM »
One small event from my traveling after surgery from HongKong to Shanghai. About beeing "shy".
In HongKong business lounge I decided to use the bathroom. Thomas drove the wheelchair to the toilet and I went in on my 2 crutches. Inside have been some women and I asked them to wait for me, because I did not know, if I can raise from the toilet on my own. They laughed an waited.
If you need assistance, ask and you will find help
« Last Edit: September 23, 2016, 03:00:27 PM by China Lady »
..... I will find out

Slinkycarrot

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Re: Travelling solo for Bilateral - an ok experience or miserable?
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2016, 04:51:58 PM »
Thanks for the tips.


In JOberg airport they are actually really helpful with assistance.  Its a really long walk from the gate to customs and ive been on crutches the best part of 3 years so well experienced with getting them to help.



China lady - just out of interest how many days post op were you when you travelled?


China Lady

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Re: Travelling solo for Bilateral - an ok experience or miserable?
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2016, 01:05:52 PM »
I stayed 7 nights in the hospital. I have had bilateral in one surgery. Next day after surgery, they put me on my feeds. They told me, you will not leave before you manage one flight stairs up and down again. I did that and next day I could go home. That time I was 56, 106 kg and not sportive at all. ....still not are, never been. 12 weeks later I rode my sidecar again, crutches at my side in the "car".
Bilateral in "one go" is something special. You dont have some kind of good side anymore, one side you can relay on. It's like "cut in half down to the legs". Dont worry, I managed and a lot of other managed.
Your initinal question was: ok experiance or miserable. It is an ok experiance if you prepare good and set your mind on it.
It will be miserable if you a whinny (?) one. Sorry, my English sometimes is not very good, but I hope you get it.
.......and yes, JOberg Airport is one with long distances. If you have wheelchair service it will not bother you.
We women are strong, whatever we set our mind on, we can do.
If you like to speak more privatly, feel free to send a PM. You are always welcome!
..... I will find out

 

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